Fisherfolk in Axim are calling on government to constitute a taskforce within the fisheries sector to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, just as it did with the illegal mining operation. According to them, the fight against IUU could yield significant results should government replicate measures taken to sanitise the mining sector, to the fisheries industry.
Deputy Chief Fishermen for Axim, Mr Joseph Tettey lament the negligence of state actors to the plight of disciplined and legitimate fishermen has accounted for the dwindling fish stock in the country.
He stressed the enforcement of fisheries laws has been relaxed, allowing these illegalities to escalate.
“Looking at what is being done with illegal mining, we realised that the activities was destroying our water-bodies. What do you think accounted for the change we are experiencing? You see the difference the taskforce has made to the environment? So we maintain that government must be blamed for this. They can do same with the fishery sector but you see we have some persons in government who are engaged in this act. How would you expect a change in this sector, so everyone will follow suite”, he said.
Mr Tettey said: “We continue speaking about this but I bet you nothing will change if government remains adamant to the issue. It is just like the illegal mining, see the cocoa and rubber plantation that got destroyed but everything is gradually restoring when government intervened”
But Ms Hannah Ansah, a Chairperson for the Fishmongers disagrees. She contends that government cannot be faulted for their woes. She explained the onus lies with the fisherfolk to commit to attitudinal change and best fishing practice to safeguard the fisheries industry.
“We must come together to save our business. Government alone can’t do everything for us, government doesn’t buy fish. Your hands will always itch after you dip it in the poisonous fishes caught with these chemicals, we are the cause of our own problems. You will get some of us who will buy these fishes from these unscrupulous people, this is not the work of the government. They say we should not go for fishing with light, yet we stubbornly won’t listen”.
Story: Ivy Donkor/Jeanelle Jones